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Dropping Older Clients....

Discussion in 'Business Fundamentals' started by Winterized, Dec 31, 2011.

  1. Winterized

    Winterized Senior Member
    Messages: 120

    How have you dealt with this issue... if you ever have.

    To keep it short and concise as I can. Doing lawns and snow for some older clients they want you to cut back on services to the point of being unsafe, as in snow... or cutting back on lawn services to where it just looks bad, and is unhealthy for the lawn.

    And this is after you have done many freebees over the years to help them out, and make things look nice for them.

    I'm not crying about them appreciating it... I'm sure they did at the time. It's now about them losing touch with reality a bit. Grass six inches long and not wanting it mowed... and them pushing snow in piles on their walk and drive and letting it freeze. Many more examples but you get the point.

    In all instances I have worked through these issues for a while, but then dropped the accounts at the end of the season. I also have concerns that their kids think I'm taking advantage of Mom or Dad if I try to advise keeping up services a bit more.

    I have also pointed other concerns with the properties and they are never acted on. As in.... improper drainage... heaved concrete...bad shingles.. siding... broken doors... cracked foundations and rotting sill plates etc etc. None of the above do I want to fix for them...any more... so I have nothing to profit by pointing this out.

    They appear to have well-to-do grown kids that could foot the bill... but never step up to the plate. I just walk away and keep my nose clean, but do feel bad for these older folks.

    I'm not far from their age in some cases.
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2011
  2. BPS#1

    BPS#1 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,421

    You have to protect your company's image.

    If maintaining a property isn't up to your standards then they should be passed on.
  3. dlcs

    dlcs 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,160

    When I first started my company, I did lots of those types of accounts. I had a elderly lady down the street from me who i took care of her lawn and snow. She wanted her lawn mowed every two weeks which i did only cause i was desparate for work. In the winter she would only let me snow blow her walks and driveways when she thought it needed it. Well one day she slipped and fell. She told all the neighbors that I didn't shovel here walk. Basically put all the blame on me. I don't do work for too many elderly customers anymore as its always the cheapest way and they want to bad mouth you because the results are less than perfect, even after you warn them. When I work for an elderly client or any client for that matter , I carefully screen them to see if they meet my way of thinking. I like to do things the right way cause it can bite you in the arse later in many ways.
  4. Banksy

    Banksy PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,113

    I had a couple elderly customers who were rather picky. By the time I had enough of them, I moved down south and referred my customers to friends who plow.
  5. basher

    basher PlowSite Fanatic
    from 19707
    Messages: 8,993

    I do two driveways ( the only two drives I do) for Geriatrics. I I stake, plow and shovel their walks (the only time I get out of the truck) and do it for free. OK one lady gives me Grape jelly every year. I feel it is pay back for my good fortune and their contribution to life. They both served in the military in WW II
  6. Turf Commando

    Turf Commando Senior Member
    Messages: 567

    Basher your the man..
  7. GL&M

    GL&M Senior Member
    from PA
    Messages: 223

    When their requests impact on the impression of your company, is unsafe or causes additional wear and tear on your equipment it's best to let them go.
  8. 2COR517

    2COR517 PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 7,115

    I did my share of freebies. Maybe it's a great way to improve the image of your company. How long does it really take to brush through their driveway when you're headed home? Can't afford to do that? You're doing something very wrong somewhere else in your business.
  9. cod8825

    cod8825 Member
    Messages: 91

    A freebie here and there is one thing but I understand unsafe, image percepition, and profit is all factors that must be considered. I have not had one bad issue with the few customers that are elderly but I will say this. One they talk forever, second they want everything explained in great detail to the point of exasperation. Leave before it gets bad remember they all talk to each other and their kids and that could be a PR nightmare.

  10. JTVLandscaping

    JTVLandscaping Senior Member
    Messages: 862

    I've had customers like this...some elderly, some not. One of my best lawn customers is an old lady who talks and talks, telling me the same stories every week. Her kids told her that she had the nicest lawn in the neighborhood and I was set.